Q&A May 2013, Part III

I have always loved the anger and intensity of Mother Knows Best. So naturally, I'm interested in your thoughts about the passing of the Iron Lady.  Also, did you see the film and if so, how did you like Meryl Streep's portrayal?

For the most part, I hated what she did to the UK. She had no compunction about destroying communities and industries, and privatising everything she could get her hands on. There was, I believe, a better way to deal with the unions, and a better way to improve nationalized industries. If she had lasted 5 years only, there might have been more to admire, but she became an autocratic monster.

I thought Meryl Streep was amazing. The film was pretty good, but I found the cinematic convenience of having deceased Dennis around all the time a bit fanciful and distracting.

While we're on the subject of PMs, who do you most admire, either from within your lifetime or further back? Your parents no doubt liked Churchill.

My parents loved Churchill, who was of course a great man, but he had a few questionable moments too. I'll go for Clem Attlee. Even Mrs. T said of him "he was all substance and no show". (Churchill supposedly said of him, "He was a modest man - but then he had much to be modest about!").

As an avid hockey fan, do you feel that you know the game well enough at this juncture to a) coach a youth team (Squirt, Peewee, Bantam or higher) or b) make a cameo appearance in the broadcast booth at the Staples Center as a guest analyst on a Kings game?

I've been stand-in coach on a couple of occasions on peewee teams, but I lack the depth you get from playing the game yourself. I've been in the booth with Bob and Foxy and Darryl and I know when to keep my mouth shut! I don't have a tenth of their insight into the game.

Keeping in mind you'd be glad to see the end of fighting in hockey, I am curious to know what style of play you prefer? A fast, finesse style, a la Gretzky, or a more aggressive style, with lots of hard (but clean) hitting, running into the boards, etc? Or do feel that a combination of both styles is essential for a team to win consistently?

My favourite format is Olympic hockey - wider ice, and less tolerance of the dirty stuff. Good NHL teams can't just be big, since they changed the obstruction law. All teams need some balance of size, speed and skill.

When you write a song about a character, do you get inside the mind of the character the way an actor might prepare for a role or a screenwriter would flesh out a character? Or do you prefer to write from the perspective of observer, as would a journalist?

A song is more effective if it's written as if from experience, and then sung as if from experience. Folsom Prison Blues sure sounds authentic, and people assume that Johnny Cash did time, but he just put himself in the skin of the prisoner, and then sung it like he meant it.

Do you do any composing on the keyboard? What keyboard instruments reside in the various Thompson households? An antique upright piano, perhaps?

I've owned various pianos, keyboards, harmoniums - right now I just have an accordion and an Indian harmonium. I do compose on them sometimes - it's good to change work tools and give your fingers and brain some new challenges.